Andres Lopez - WashingtonianRecently, the Washingtonian highlighted extraordinary success stories of some of the most influential Hispanic achievers of our time. Among the Latino faces featured on the cover was Andres W. Lopez. A Harvard Law graduate and trial attorney from Puerto Rico who is often described as having a “steamrolling personality,” Lopez has become one of the most influential Latinos in politics, government, and the private sector.

Lopez was the catalyst in forming a groundbreaking Latino-focused fundraising group during the 2012 presidential election, raising over 30 million for President Barack Obama’s re-election. He played a crucial role in fostering favorable support during Obama’s election, which captured 71 percent of the Latino vote. Clearly, Lopez understands the strength and great potential that lies in our nation’s diversity. [click to continue…]

The following was derived from remarks Maurita Coley delivered at the State of Black New Jersey Conference held by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey on March 28th.

African American Businessman ComputerI commend the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey for having a “State of Black America” conference, because too often we [African Americans] miss out on opportunities by virtue of not being aware of the state we are in.  For example, some of us think we are in the state of New Jersey, when we are really in a state of crisis and confusion, leading to our missing out and being late to the party of opportunity.

But more often than not, structural barriers are the cause of our missing out on opportunities, because we don’t find out about them soon enough to participate, and because we have barriers such as access to capital that limit the timing and level at which we can participate.  An example is the home ownership bubble – a disproportionate number of African Americans got in on the home ownership bubble just in time for the bust.  And when the bubble burst, we were hurt the worst, because we got in late in the first place. [click to continue…]

On April 10th, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, along with 28 other national organizations, signed on to a letter to several members of Congress expressing support for the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act.  The full letter, also available on the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition’s website, is below.

CongressDear Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Wyden, Representative Eshoo, and Senator Thune:

On behalf of the members of organizations from a diverse political spectrum, we write today to express our strong support for the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) and the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (S. 1431). We greatly appreciate your continued leadership on this issue, and stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to ensure swift passage of legislation to make the moratorium on multiple and discriminatory taxes and taxes on Internet access permanent before the current Internet tax moratorium expires on November 1, 2014. With strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, these bills should be considered for passage prior to the August recess to avoid any uncertainty that will result from delay.

Internet taxation affects all Americans from all political views and all walks of life. From healthcare to education, small business entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, the Internet has dramatically transformed the way everyone lives, works, and learns. In 2010, the Internet accounted for an estimated $684 billion, or 4.7 percent of all U.S. economic activity. While the Internet was a nascent technology when the current moratorium was established in 1998, it has become the economic engine driving innovation and growth in our 21st century economy. Throttling that engine at a time when our economy is struggling hurts not only those trying to invest in America’s future, but also those who can least afford it and have the most to gain from the Internet’s potential. [click to continue…]

This week, MMTC Vice President and Chief Research & Policy Officer Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee spoke at the Free State Foundation’s Telecom Policy Conference. Joining Dr. Turner-Lee were Free State Foundation Founder and President Randolph May; former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate; Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee David Redl; University of Nebraska Law School Professor Justin Hurwitz; Boston College Law School Assistant Professor Daniel Lyons; and University of Pennsylvania Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition Founder and Executive Director David Yoo. [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2014):  The Federal Communications Commission voted today to ultimately do away with those joint sales agreements (JSAs) for which there are few or no public interest benefits.  Under the new rule, television broadcasters will be barred from forming new JSAs where one station sells 15 percent or more of the advertising time of another separately-owned station in the same market.  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council applauds the Commission’s decision, particularly with respect to shared services agreements (SSAs), under which the “licensee” often holds nothing but a bare FCC license and lacks any meaningful authority over financing, staffing, or programming.

According to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, “JSAs have been used to skirt existing rules to create market power that stacks the deck against small companies seeking to enter the broadcast business,” and the new rule “is a win for competition, and it’s a win for common sense.” [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 18, 2014):  Last week, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it would transition its key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community.  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) applauds NTIA for this significant step in a transition that has been 16 years in the making.

Under the proposed process, no one government will have control over the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) functions, which cover the distribution of protocol parameters, global IP address allocation, and processing changes to DNS root zone, all critical to the functioning of the Internet.  NTIA has called on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). [click to continue…]

Dialogue on Diversity Women's History Month ForumØ WHAT: Women: The Community — Public Policy Forum for Women’s History Month

Ø WHEN: Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 4:00–6:30 p.m., Reception Following

Ø WHERE: American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C.

Ø WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals, Educators, Staff and Executives of NGOs and public sector agencies, and all concerned with women’s progress,  human capital, and public policy.

The early days of March are upon us, with not so springtime weather in many parts of the country, debilitating snow and ice in Washington – but brighter prospects are in the offing with the advent of Women’s History Month, marked with the March 8th International Women’s Day punctuating the observances. Dialogue on Diversity presents its annual Public Policy Forum on March 19th in celebration of the season, partnering in this program with the American Federation of Teachers – under the provocative title: WOMEN: THE COMMUNITY – XXI CENTURY STRUGGLES FOR EQUITY. [click to continue…]

PhRMA Press ConferenceThere is a severe underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians in clinical trials, the processes pharmaceutical companies undertake to test and hone treatments for illnesses.  Due to genetic differences between ethnic groups, diverse representation in clinical trials is vital to tailoring healthcare treatments for various demographics.

Yesterday, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), in conjunction with the National Minority Quality Forum, announced the launch of its “I’m In” campaign and website, a patient-centered, community-focused initiative designed to educate the public about the importance of clinical trials and raise awareness about clinical trial opportunities.  During a press conference, doctors, experts, and a former clinical trial patient and breast cancer survivor joined PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani to express the needs and goals of the initiative.

“PhRMA and our member companies are committed to raising awareness and increasing participation in clinical trials, particularly among historically underrepresented populations,” said Castellani in a statement.  “Through this collaboration of health care leaders, we are taking a major step forward to help reduce health disparities through greater inclusiveness in clinical research.”

The Need for Diversity

Speakers at the press conference provided alarming statistics on the dearth of diversity in clinical trials, but expressed hope that, thanks to broadband, mhealth, and the overall increased connectivity in today’s digital world, the lack of minority representation in clinical trials could be remedied through the I’m In initiative. [click to continue…]

Herb Wilkins

Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

Longtime MMTC Board Member and Benefactor, Minority Venture Capital Icon, Mentor, and Champion for Diversity of Ownership in the Media and Telecommunications Industries

January 9, 1942 – December 3, 2013

Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr., renowned venture capitalist and entrepreneur, will best be remembered for his stalwart leadership and achievements on behalf of minority entrepreneurs in the broadcast, cable, wireless and satellite industries. 

Affectionately known as the “Godfather of Minority Venture Capital,” Herb’s strong belief in the potential of minority businessmen and women motivated him to take risks that many others feared to take, leaving behind a legacy of success in minority-owned businesses in the communications industries. 

The Syncom Legacy

Herb revolutionized minority entrepreneurship in the broadcasting, cable, telecom and wireless industries through his successful venture capital funds, Syndicated Communications, Inc., and Syncom Venture Partners, funds that, collectively, have invested nearly a half-billion dollars in approximately 150 minority-owned communications business enterprises over the past 35 years.  With a mission to diversify the ownership of media and telecom in the United States, Herb, along with his long-time partners Terry Jones, Duane McKnight and the Syncom team, adopted a winning approach by investing in deals other venture capital firms refused, and sharing the risks and rewards of their investments with other minority venture capitalists through syndication-style investments. The Syncom Funds not only made financial investments in minority entrepreneurs, but they also incubated them to help to ensure their success. [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 6, 2014):  Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today that the Commission would be moving to ultimately do away with those joint sales agreements (JSAs) for which there are few or no public interest benefits. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council applauds Wheeler’s initiative – particularly with respect to shared services agreements (SSAs), under which the “licensee” often holds nothing but a bare FCC license and lacks any meaningful authority over financing, staffing, or programming.

The Chairman’s announcement wisely leaves the door open for those instances in which the only way to save a struggling television station is with a “sidecar” JSA or SSA arrangement. [click to continue…]